How do I build my persona before I even have my first client? – WAU

If you work for a company that is entering the market or even a large and consolidated company, but that is looking to launch a new product / service, you may have already faced the following dilemma: how to build a content marketing strategy if I I don’t know who my persona is? One of the ways […]

If you work for a company that is entering the market or even a large and consolidated company, but that is looking to launch a new product / service, you may have already faced the following dilemma: how to build a content marketing strategy if i don’t know who my persona is?

One of the easiest ways to get to know a persona is through exploratory interviews with your own customers. After all, who best represents the profile you want to achieve but those who use your products / services?

On the other hand, if you still don’t have customers, knowing precisely (without thinking) what the profile of the audience you want to reach can be quite challenging, isn’t it?

In this post, I came to show you that it’s not that complicated. There are other ways to draw a persona that represents your company’s ideal potential customer. And even if you have a high number of clients and have already built a persona, all of these techniques below can help you develop an even more complete profile.

“Traditional” persona search

I imagine that you have already read other persona content and that everyone tells you to interview your customers. What makes perfect sense, since it is nothing more than a semi-expert representation (we consider it semi because it is based on real facts) of your ideal client.

In this case, the construction process basically goes through the following steps:

1. Definition of structured questions that help you build the profile, which in general, address the following issues:

  • Age;
  • Genre;
  • Education;
  • Office;
  • Reasons and objectives that led to purchase the product / service;
  • Challenges that your company or your product helps to overcome;
  • Channels where the person follows content;
  • Content formats you like to consume.

2. Sending the questionnaire to the customer base or even making contact by phone;

3. Compilation and analysis of responses;

4. Construction of the persona;

5. Validation with the marketing team and the sales team, based on their perception as well;

In this research format, it is not necessary to interview a high volume of clients. As the questions are open, it is possible to go deeper and obtain a lot of relevant and detailed information.

To achieve a high volume of responses, which is statistically representative of your market, there are other ways, which I will address in the next topic. One format does not exclude the other, on the contrary, they complement each other!

Persona search without customers

If you do not have the possibility to interview clients or if you want to make your persona even more complete, validating it using market data and target audience behavior, you can do one (or all) of the following ways.

From studies done via market research, research with the base of contacts, analysis of Google Analytics and competitive evaluation of competitors, you can build a persona without guessing.

Complete Google Analytics Guide

1. Market research

One of the best options to get to know your audience or even interest in the product / service you are launching is through market research.

The main advantages of this model are:

  • To be able to collect a higher volume of responses, as it is more scalable;
  • Combine quantitative data (which generate statistical information) and qualitative data, which generate in-depth, relevant and specific information;
  • Represent your target audience even more faithfully to reality, for following statistical standards of sampling and collection;

The main disadvantages are:

  • The collection process can be longer, because it may be necessary for the survey to continue running for longer to reach the desired number of respondents;
  • The cost involved in general is higher, since to reach the target audience, you may need to hire panels of outsourced respondents or even a research company to develop it.

To understand in detail how to develop and execute a survey, see our Marketing Research ebook: how to plan, execute and generate leads for your company.The steps to produce market research are:

1. Define who is the population to be surveyed. Example: if my product serves people of the female gender who have an income above R $ 2,000.00 and live in São Paulo, this is my population.

If you still don’t have such specific information about it, or want to test it in different audiences, don’t restrict the specifications too much, select a large population.

2. Calculate the survey sample: in order for your sample to be truly representative of the population, it is important to calculate what its size should be.

To find the value, use this calculator online.

3. Validate the need to hire a panel of respondents or research company and make budgets based on the profile of the target audience and the sample size.

4. Assess whether there is enough budget to carry out the research based on panel costs and hours spent by your team.

5. Plan the schedule, which includes dates for all stages of the survey.

6. Define the technique for data collection:

  • Online questionnaire, using tools such as Google Forms, Typeform and SurveyMonkey;
  • Presential interview;
  • Telephone interview;
  • Focus group (in person or online).

7. Build the questionnaire skeleton: even if the interview is in person or online, the first thing is to understand the information you need to collect about your audience and produce a skeleton of your questionnaire. Which questions will be asked, in which order, and only then build it in the tool.

It is important to highlight the differences and the importance of the types of questions chosen. For most of them, it makes sense to choose the “multiple choice” model or one that has pre-established alternatives. For example: if you want to know what state a London resides in, you can easily give them the options and ask them to choose.

However, for questions that may have broader answers that are difficult to predict, do not give the options beforehand; prefer the open-ended question model.

An example would be questions about which blogs, newsletters, magazines, newspapers etc. the person likes to follow. There are so many options that it would be impossible for you to guess the taste. It is best not to limit and let her write freely, this will only enrich your persona’s profile.

8. Pass the questionnaire to the collection tool if the chosen technique is this. Below, you can see an example of one of our persona searches. In it, you get both ideas of questions to replicate in yours and how the construction is done. For this questionnaire, we used Typeform:

9. Execution of the research, which will vary according to the chosen technique. If it is online, for example, this step would be the dissemination of the questionnaire to the sample. If via phone, this would be the start of the calls, and so on.

10. Closing the research and data analysis. In this step, you will try to profile yourself based on the predominant characteristics. For example: if the majority of its respondents are women, residents of São Paulo, with a management position in technology companies, this is the main profile of their audience, therefore, it is the most representative;

2. Search based on contacts

The research with the base of contacts follows a logic of construction and execution very close to the market research. The main difference is that, to perform it, you will not need to hire a panel of respondents, for example, since the participants are part of your lead base.

The main advantages of this research are:

  • Costs are reduced, precisely because of the non-investment in outsourced panels. So, if you have this limitation, but you have a base of contacts, this is a good model for your company;
  • It is scalable because it is done online;
  • You can search for partners who have an audience similar to yours, but who are not your competitors, of course, to expand the reach of the search.

The disadvantages are:

  • It is not statistically representative of the market, since you are not selecting a sample calculated from the total population;
  • It may be that your base does not represent the ideal persona for the new product / service, for example.

In terms of process, the only steps that change in relation to market research are 2 (since the sample is no longer statistically representative) and 3, in which there will be no panel hiring – but it may still be necessary to hire company to execute the process).

Although in this model there is no contracting of panel and definition of sample size, it is still important to think about a valid segmentation to receive the survey.

For example: if you have people with positions at different hierarchical levels in your base, but you only want to reach professionals who are coordinators, managers, directors and C-level, it does not make sense that the research is triggered for interns, analysts, supervisors, among others. others. This would only cause deviations in your results.

The other steps are identical to the market research process, described in technique 1.

3. Website / blog Analytics study

If your company already has a website or blog, it is interesting to analyze the Google Analytics statistics to understand the profile of those who have accessed and what type of content your visitors have been looking for.

And even if you already have a documented persona, it is valid to evaluate this information even to understand if your blog or website has really reached the persona you want. We did this recently, including, with Inteligência Websites Are Us, one of our blogs.

In the Analytics side menu, go to Public> Demographics> Overview.

google analytics image

In this example, we can see that most visitors are 25 to 34 years old and are female. As much as this information is still more representative of a target audience than a persona, you can already know that the estimated age of your profile is in that range.

Still in the “Public” tab, select “Interests” and then “Overview”. Here you can see the main topics that your visitors are looking for on the internet, regardless of whether they are related to the content you publish or not.

google analytics

The market segments, on the other hand, show an interest in the acquisition of products or services in the category. Evaluating the graph above, for example, and considering the type of content that Websites Are Us blogs publish and the services that the company provides, we have a good indication that we are attracting the right people.

Also in “Público”, we have geographic information about visitors, both about the country and about the state and city where they reside.

google analytics

google analytics

As is to be expected, the majority of visitors to a blog of a company that operates in London reside in the country, and in this specific example, most live in the city of São Paulo, SP.

In addition, you can also analyze the days of the week and times that your persona usually consumes content and what content topics they have read.

In “Home page”, you can analyze the graph of “Users by time of day” and evaluate what are the most visited content / pages in a given period of time.

google analytics image

Now in acquisition, you can understand which channels your audience is coming from: organic, social, email, direct… and Social detailing can bring insights into what social media your persona is on and how she interacts with them.

google analytics

With all this information, you can build the profile of the audience that is following your blog and even validate that it is really who you are looking to reach. This step is more a complement to the other formats of persona searches than a complete search. Then use it as a form of validation or even a first step towards construction.

4. Competitive analysis

Another way to learn a little more about your potential customer is by analyzing your domain and that of your competitors, mainly to understand the keywords most searched for by them and the most read contents. This information will make your persona profile even more complete.

In tools like SEMrush, you can do this analysis by both domain and specific keywords.

Domain analysis:

Details of the main organic keywords by domain:

Clicking on a keyword gives you details of trends, search volume and what are the related keywords.

semrush image

From this information, you can understand which blogs and content topics your persona likes to follow without having to ask them directly.

To learn in more detail how to use this tool, see the post on how to use SEMrush.

There are other tools that also help in analyzing the behavior and tastes of your persona, especially on social networks.

With Buzzsumo, it is also possible to do a competition analysis, but to understand how engagement with content on social networks is. Remembering that the same analysis can be done in relation to your company’s social networks.

Social Media Marketing Kit

This is good for thinking about themes that will draw your persona’s attention in different channels, not just in organic search.

Doing a research on the HubSpot domain in the last year, for example, we found the following data:


Social networks with more audience engagement and types of content that the audience that follows them most likes by channel (infographics, “why” and “what” posts, list formats, “how-to” content and others):


Engagement by day of the week, which brings important information about how the persona uses social networks and whether there is variation in the profile of use by social network


What size content does the audience like and interact with the most:


Which specific content had the most engagement (and how much engagement) in the chosen period:


Quintly also provides interesting information about days of the week and times of engagement:


And about which specific posts had the most interaction, both yours and your competitors’, by social network:

[Ebook gratuito]: Facebook Marketing
[Ebook gratuito]: Marketing on Instagram
[Ebook gratuito]: Marketing on LinkedIn
[Ebook gratuito]: Twitter Marketing